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Minor Intern

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alec gitelman
Minor Intern
on Apr 15, 2009 at 3:26:58 pm


Our company has recruited an intern. She's 17, a high school student.

We're really small, actually at this point the company exists pretty much only as a legal entity to produce a documentary. Do we need any paperwork done, i.e. parental consent if we take her on our shoots, anything else?

Thanks.
Alec.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Minor Intern
on Apr 15, 2009 at 5:44:17 pm

Minors can't give consent, so yes, a permission slip or MOU with a legal guardian, and a file copy with the kid's school, perhaps the kid can get academic credit for it.

There will be some things the kid should not do, based on child labor laws. Probably should not be driving your vans, based on my past experience:-) Anything physical, like loading equipment, you want to keep a eye on the hours and not too much weight being carried unassisted. They can't work on dangerous things, limit their gaffer work around the electical panels. They are not alloowed to work box crushers, stamping presses, welding torches, etc. Be aware of their maximum hours per day, their meal breaks, and early-morning or after-dark transportation and safety issues.

Check your insurance to see if you're covered for anything she breaks or loses on the job.


That aside, I find our teenage high-school interns are generally better than postgraduate ones or college ones. The teens don't think they know quite everything yet, are willing to be shown and taught things, and are less reticent to handle scutwork than grad students, who think they should only direct and never do menial things like coil a mic cord or log tape.

Of course it is essential to success that you balance any unpleasant duty with sufficient "cool stuff", that is, for every hour logging or boxing tapes, spend an hour elsewhere showing them how to edit, or teaching them how to work the camera, or practice TD'ing a switcher, or setting up a lighting situation. Things like that. The kids will work their hearts out for you as long as they know there is equal time doing "the good stuff" to compensate for the drudgery.


A lot of time the teen intern will be intimidated or a little shy; you need to go out of your way to make them know they are *supposed* to ask "stupid" questions, at least ten a day, make it a rule. We find it useful to have long-standing practices questioned by interns: in the explaining, we refine our own understanding, and sometimes, we even discover that hey, you're right kid, that IS an old-fashioned practice that may no longer be relevant under new situations.

We also remind the kids that they have access to everything within reason and should use ANY free time to actively try and learn new things, but if they don't step up and ask, or make an effort to try something, every day, nobody is going to baby them, and their experience will not be as fulfilling or useful. We let the wallflowers wilt, we don't have the resources to baby them along. The kids that make pests of themselves and play with everything until they figure it out, they get a lot of attention and training, because they are *earning* the attention.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Minor Intern
on Apr 15, 2009 at 5:59:58 pm

Mark,

I agree with all of what you wrote. That's the way a good internship is supposed to work. It's not supposed to provide a free slave, ready to to do all the crap no one else wants to do, which is unfortunately the way internship have been exploited in the past.

BTW Mark, I liked your post a bit better before you fixed the typo, when it said they should "sue any free time to learn new things..." Sounds like a legal internship there.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Minor Intern
on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:13:46 pm

We're all so agreeable, must be the spring air:-) Your joke about typos erminsd me there was a story a while back about production interns in LA going on strike and starting a class action lawsuit, over just such abuses. I wonder whatever became of that story?


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Mike Cohen
Re: Minor Intern
on Apr 16, 2009 at 3:45:16 am

Also keep them away from deli meat slicers. Deep fat fryers, apparently, are ok!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Minor Intern
on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:58:36 pm

[Mark Suszko] "there was a story a while back about production interns in LA going on strike and starting a class action lawsuit, over just such abuses. I wonder whatever became of that story?
"


Don't you know Mark, the studios said they'd settle the lawsuit from the profits made on their major motion pictures, but unfortunately after putting teams of studio accountants on the case they found that none of their movies made a profit. Oddly enough, in spite of that, all six major media U.S. media companies miraculously showed record profits.

BTW, that's right, only six companies control all major U.S. media concerns. If anyone doubts that, I'll be happy to go through them one by one to prove it to you.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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alec gitelman
Re: Minor Intern
on Apr 16, 2009 at 2:07:56 pm

Thanks Mark,

The way you describe it I would like to become that intern and learn all that cool stuff you're talking about!

We're getting some papers from school when the spring break is over. Other than that, is there a place i could find the template for parental consent? Never had to deal with that before, so I have no idea what it should look like.


Alec.



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